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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 December 2006, 17:18 GMT
Kilmarnock 0-0 Hearts
Saulias Mikoliunas is tackled by Steven Naismith
Saulias Mikoliunas posed a threat up front for Hearts
Kilmarnock and Hearts had to settle for a share of the points in a goalless encounter at Rugby Park.

Valdas Ivanauskas' side dominated proceedings in the first half of a thrilling, albeit fruitless encounter.

Paul Hartley almost opened Hearts' account in the first five minutes with a clever free-kick, but was frustrated by Graeme Smith's post.

Gary Wales squandered an opportunity to hand Killie an injury time winner, but somehow sent his shot wide of the mark.

Hearts almost opened the scoring in the in the opening seconds when Marius Zaliukas leapt for an Andrew Driver corner, but his powerful header drifted wide.

Five minutes later, Hartley sent in a cute free-kick which drifted past the Kilmarnock defence and struck Smith's left-hand post.

With 21 minutes on the clock, Wales replied with at the other end with a powerful shot, but the 27-year-old's long-range effort whistled over the bar.

Kilmarnock picked up some confidence when Peter Leven delivered a 40-yard volley in his temporary striking role, but Craig Gordon was never in any real danger.

Four minutes from the break, Smith failed to collect a deep cross and Saulius Mikoliunas managed to find Michal Posposil inside the six-yard box, but Simon Ford deflected the Czech's effort over the bar.

Hearts continued to dominate most of the action in the first half and Hartley was again involved in the action on the stroke of half-time when he sent in a cross for Pospisil to head for goal from close range, but Smith managed to punch clear.

After the break, Mikoliunas picked where Hearts left off when he volleyed in a right-footed shot from the edge of penalty area which drifted wide of the left-hand post.

Steven Naismith almost notched up the first goal of the match for Kilmarnock against the run of play when he headed in from just six yards, but could only hit the bar.

The pace picked up with around 20 minutes left to play as Leven sent in an inswinging corner for Kilmarnock, but when it landed at the feet of Danny Invincibile, the Australian midfielder's shot was blocked by Christophe Berra.

At the other end, Roman Bednar almost opened the scoring for Hearts just after the 60-minute mark with a downward header from close range which was saved by in-form Smith.

The Czech squandered another golden opportunity just two minutes later when he went one-on-one with Smith and ballooned a volleyed shot over the bar.

As the final whistle neared, both sides continued to search for a winner, and the best chance of the match fell to Gary Wales after some good work by Allan Johnston and Naismith, but the former Hearts man could only drag his shot wide.


Kilmarnock: Smith, Grant Murray, Hay, Ford, Greer, Fowler, Johnston, Naismith, Invincibile, Wales, Leven (Barrowman 74). Subs Not Used: Harpur, Dodds, Stephen Murray, Hamill, Adams, Flannigan.

Booked: Johnston.

Hearts: Gordon, Neilson, Fyssas, Berra, Zaliukas, Aguiar, Hartley, Driver, Mikoliunas, Velicka (Makela 86), Pospisil (Bednar 66). Subs Not Used: Banks, Wallace, Barasa, McCann, Karipidis.

Booked: Neilson.

Att: 7,302

Ref: D McDonald.

SEE ALSO
Ivanauskas bemoans lack of luck
30 Dec 06 |  Heart of Midlothian


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